Today my cape dress arrived in the post! I ordered it about two weeks ago from Gehman’s Country Fabrics, along with a petticoat. I’m quite pleased with the dress. It fits very well and looks nice. This is quite an achievement – so many dresses either make my hips look ridiculously big, or they make me look like a round blob.
So what is a cape dress? Don’t google it, because all sorts of strange things come up. If you must google it, google “Mennonite Cape Dress” or something like that.
A cape dress is basically a dress with a cape. This is pretty obvious. There are all sorts of cape dresses – the Amish wear the cape separately (that is, they have a long dress but the cape is separate and pins on) and often in a different colour. The Old German Baptist Brethren have a poncho-like cape. The most common sort of “cape dress” is a Mennonite style, though – the cape is the same material as the rest of the dress, and it’s sewn on around the neck and at the waist. A cape dress without the cape is usually called a “prairie dress” or something similar.
The pictures are of the cape dress I ordered and I’m wearing it in the pictures. It’s very comfortable and probably fits better than most of my other clothes. I’ll be ordering another and a pattern soon.
Some shops that sell cape dresses and prairie dresses are:
Gehman’s Country Fabrics – gehmanscountryfabrics.com – they have a wide range of materials to choose from, and you can order either pre-made or choose your own material and they’ll make it for you. You can also get custom-made if you don’t fit one of their sizes. They only have one style of dress/sleeve, though.
Plainly Dressed – www.plainlydressed.com – they make a range clothing in traditional Anabaptist styles, but fabrics and patterns are limited.
Katie’s Mercantile – www.katiesmercantile.com – a number of different dresses, including a cape dresses, and a wide range of fabric.
Some shops that sell modest dresses (but not cape dresses) are:
Be An Example – www.modestclothes.makingmelodymusic.com.au – a local South Australian lady, probably the only modest clothing online shop in Australia. She has a wide range of different fabrics and dress styles.
The King’s Daughters – www.thekingsdaughters.com – this shop has an amazing selection of dress styles and fabrics.
Ringger Clothing – ringgerclothing.com – has a wide selection of dresses, pinafores, skirts, and blouses, which don’t look too old-fashioned.
Purely Modest – www.purelymodest.com – has a reasonable selection of dress and pinafore styles and fabrics.
eBay and Etsy – of course both of these places have a lot of cape dresses and modest dresses – provided you can work out the right search words!
Of all of these, I’ve only bought anything from Gehman’s, but I’ve heard only good things about the others. I’ve got to say that the cape dress which arrived today is one of the most comfortable items of clothing I have ever worn.